No. 2 New York Knicks vs. No. 7 Boston Celtics
Season Series: Knicks 3-1
How they matchup:
New York- 54-28
Points per game: 100.0 (11th)
Rebounds per game: 40.6 (26th)
Assists per game: 19.3 (last)
Points allowed per game: 95.7 (seventh)
Field goal percentage: 44.8% (18th)
Three-point percentage: 37.6% (fourth)
Free-throw percentage: 75.9% (13th)
Points per game: 96.5 (18th)
Rebounds per game: 39.3 (29th)
Assists per game: 22.8 (12th)
Points allowed per game: 96.7 (12th)
Field goal percentage: 46.5% (sixth)
Three-point percentage: 35.8% (15th)
Free-throw percentage: 77.6% (sixth)
What to expect: All eyes will be on Anthony to see if he can finally win a playoff series in a Knicks uniform. History is not on his side, but the Knicks have been playing too well and should advance.
Throw in the fact that they are getting healthy and they should have a huge advantage on the glass with Tyson Chandler and Kenyon Martin, even though the Knicks aren’t a great rebounding team.
As for Boston, they will battle, as they aren’t your typical seven seed. Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce will give the Knicks fits, but the series could come down to Jeff Green and J.R. Smith. Whoever is more effective should give their team a big advantage.
The Knicks will end up being primarily an isolation team, so you have to worry about Anthony and Smith trying to do too much.
However if the gameplan is to take the ball to the basket instead of settling for contested jumpers, then the Knicks will be fine. However if the old J.R. emerges and starts forcing shot after shot, the Knicks could let the Celtics steal a few games and then anything can happen.
Ultimately the loss of Rajon Rondo will be too much for the Celtics to overcome.
Prediction: Knicks in six